When recruiters talk about job descriptions, person specifications and job adverts, it often feels like they are talking about the same thing. Unfortunately for both of us, they are three different elements of the recruitment process, and today I’m going to tell you what a job description is and why it is important!

What is it?

This is probably the most traditional recruitment tool, and it is simply a description of what the job will entail. It contains the job title and what the person in this role will be doing every day; their tasks and responsibilities.

They should be kept up to date and should be updated every time a position is advertised.


Why do recruiters use them?

  • Help with the writing of job adverts
  • Enable candidates to understand what kind of role they are applying for, and if they are suitable for this role
  • Choose the right advertising media (e.g. job boards, social media, newspapers)
  • Assist with screening candidate’s applications
  • Help candidates in their preparation for interviews

Job descriptions can also be used by an employer in appraisals throughout a candidate’s employment with a company, comparing their day to day work with what is set out for them to be doing.

What does it contain?

Job descriptions do not normally contain the necessary skills, qualifications and experience needed from the suitable candidate, but they do tend to be structured in a set way.

The typical structure will normally be along the lines of:

  1. Job title – avoid misleading job titles
  2. Summary statement – describe the main purpose of the job
  3. Reporting line – explains how the employee will fit into the organisation
  4. Duties and responsibilities – detail the main functions of the role
  5. Location – where the position is based and what the working environment is like; include details of travel requirements or hazardous environments
  6. Working hours – overtime or weekends required, flexible working times, start and finish times, etc.
  7. Probation period – explain how long this will be
  8. Training and development – opportunities for employees to develop their career
  9. Benefits – salary, holiday allowance, pension or healthcare schemes, company car, etc.
  10. Employer information – this gives candidates an idea of who your company is.


Hopefully this has given you a better understanding of what a job description is and how it is used in the recruitment process. If you are looking to recruit and wondering what the best recruitment option is for you, we are now offering free recruitment consultations – no strings attached!